Cowra Magpies are ramping up preparations off the field for this season’s Group 10 competition, as the club closes in on securing the services of Fijian flyer Simon Wise.
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President Bill Brien confirmed that Wise – a Fijian under 21s player – had all but signed Tuesday afternoon, a coup he hopes sparks the Magpies to their first finals series since hosting the 2014 grand final.
According to Brien, club contacts at the Wyong Roos describe Wise as a tryscoring machine, having gone on their radar after a trial match when he played for a Fiji touring side.
“He comes highly recommended from Ian Burke, a former Cowra bloke, who’s involved at the Wyong Roos,” Brien said. “He’s a good, young footballer and a nice kid.”
Wise looms as the main candidate to fill the void left by 2016 fullback Tim Bassmann, however Brien says he’s also a chance of playing the centres. Cowra hopes to complete negotiations in the next week or two.
Former Parramatta under 20s player and ex-teammate of Magpies coach Rory Brien, Cameron Picker is also set to join the Magpies roster for 2017. Picker, originally from Bigga, boarded at All Saints’ College, Bathurst and represented Western Rams as he developed as a junior.
He’s expected to play Cowra’s trial match against the Young Cherrypickers on Saturday, March 11 at Sid Kallas Oval – all four grades will get a chance to blow the cobwebs out that day.
Bill Brien confirmed Rams representative Warren Williams has put pen to paper again this year, as the club prepares to complete negotiations with its more senior players from 2016.
He didn’t rule out the chance of bolstering the squad, though, with the club hoping to land an agreement with a couple of front rowers from Great Britain.
“We’re looking forward to a competitive year again,” Bill Brien said.
“Last year I suppose being a new year with Rory their, there was a bit of a buzz about. The expectation was reasonably high and everyone felt we underachieved.
“We did underachieve in terms of where we finished on the ladder but you got to look at the games. We got beat half a dozen times by two or four points and led 80 percent of games at 65 minutes. There’s nothing wrong with the talent, we just have to keep being persistent.”
Cowra’s on field preparations are in full swing with training on Tuesdays and Thursdays, ahead of the opening round on April 9 against premiers Mudgee Dragons at Sid Kallas Oval.
Brien also proudly announced that a full field of sponsors are onboard for 2017.
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